HEYWORTH – A week after being pushed around in their only loss of the season at Deer Creek-Mackinaw last Friday, the Marquette Crusaders showed this Friday night the Week 3 contest was more the exception than the rule, that they can do a little pushing around, too.
Behind a dominating physical performance in the trenches on both sides of the ball, the Cru got back on track against Heyworth at Hornet Stadium on Friday night.
Tom Durdan rushed 12 times for 116 yards and three touchdowns and caught a 13-yard scoring pass from quarterback Alex Graham for his second performance of at least four TDs in a game this season. Jurnee Reed added 95 yards and a score on 11 carries, and Graham — in addition to posting a 1-yard TD sneak — finished with 131 yards on 8-of-12 passing on the night as Marquette (3-1) piled up 401 yards of total offense in a 47-22 victory over the Hornets.
“All you can do is do your stuff and do it the best you can.”— Marquette football coach Tom Jobst
And while this is just the latest in a series of standout offensive showings, the defense stepped up as well, responding well to some position changes by surrendering just 115 total yards to Heyworth, which netted 79 of those yards in the final drive of the game against the Cru reserves.
“The offense has been rolling pretty well the whole year, and they did again tonight,” said Marquette coach Tom Jobst. “We still have a lot of things to iron out there, too, because we’ve had to move a lot of kids around a lot on both sides of the ball because of injuries. We’re trying to rebuild the puzzle, so there are a lot of mistakes that need to be corrected.
“Those things will come in time, with more practice and game time, but we had a lot of freshmen and sophomores out there tonight, and they did pretty well.
“All you can do is do your stuff and do it the best you can. We dedicated all of Wednesday’s practice to the subs, letting them run the No. 1′s stuff. We’ll have to keep doing that, I guess.”
The Crusaders scored the first two times they possessed the ball, getting a 19-yard TD from Durdan and his 13-yard pass TD connection from Graham, both in the opening quarter. Defensively, MA held the home team to three-and-outs on its first four possessions and got a Durdan interception of a Dylan Esposito pass on the fifth. By then, they had added a 13-yard Durdan run to lead 22-0.
An MA pass interference penalty led to a 21-yard score by Heyworth’s Connor Moore, but Durdan finished the half with his third score, this one from 2 yards out to make it 28-8 at the break.
In the third stanza, Marquette added a 23-yard Graham to Charlie Mullen scoring strike, a 14-yard Reed touchdown and Graham’s TD sneak to cap the Cru’s scoring.
The only blemishes the rest of the way were Moore’s 83-yard kickoff return and his 1-yard plunge in the fourth, the latter aided by penalties.
The move of twins Beau and Brady Ewers from linemen to inside linebackers, moving Reed to outside linebacker and moving Aiden Thompson from tackle to defensive end “paid off for us,” Jobst said.
That formation put so much pressure on Esposito that the senior failed to complete any of his six passes. The only completion of the night for HHS was a halfback pass good for 11 yards in the fourth period.
“I would say they had a lot of advantage up front. Not a little, a lot,” said Heyworth coach Nate Albaugh. “They were a lot more physical up front, and their passing game was really, really impressive. That quarterback does a nice job. With their backs, too, they’re hard to stop, and our program is certainly not at a place where we can stop them right now. That was a big difference, and we paid the price.”
After three weeks on the road, the Crusaders will return home next Friday at 7 p.m. to face Chicago Hope Academy, the first of three straight weeks at Gould Stadium.